What drives the playing human?

Dressing up as a Viking for the weekend or racing through mud pools: some people lose themselves in these games while others find it a curious way of passing time. In Homo Ludens you will meet these dare devils, free spirits and hobbyists. What drives the playing human?

Prospektor produced this short documentary by Sanne Rovers and Lara Aerts, who have been sharing our office for years now. They came up with the idea over a coffee break, we further developed the idea together at our kitchen table. Lara's vigorous research and Sanne's power to observe have made Homo Ludens into a beautiful, thrilling film.


Children can play all day long: building huts, mummy’s-and-daddy’s-play, or street soccer. But as one ages, more obligations arise and there is less time to play. Moreover, is playing not a kids' thing?

There are also adults who - still or again - play. They enter the world of games, where it can get deadly serious but at the same time, this world is make-believe. They build miniature planes, go swimming in a mermaid costume, play soccer, race around in jeeps or lose themselves in Live Action Role Play. Some play to win, while others are in it for the adrenaline rush. For some the game is a social occasion, while others see it as an opportunity to retreat. But what seems to apply to all players, is that gaming is a way for them to temporarily escape daily life.

Yet, the playing human is often viewed as a deviant: because, honestly isn't it a bit silly, a grown man in a knight's outfit? Alternatively, the gamers are perceived as being reckless, macho or monomaniacal. So where is the boundary between generally accepted games and games that raise eyebrows?

The observational film Homo Ludens takes the viewer on a journey into the world of different players. While each game is expressed differently, the playing human, in his search for freedom, actually engages in one universal game.

Nothing was introduced, explained. It’s simple: playing humans. That’s what makes it so beautiful: the apparent naturalness.
— Frank Heinen, De Volkskrant

Poster De Spelende Mens.jpg

Documentary Homo Ludens is mindfulness on the screen. The biggest problem is that it’s over too soon.
— Floor Overmars, Vara Gids



It is that experience which Sanne Rovers puts in the spotlight with her short film Homo Ludens: the charm of doing something, purely for the joy of doing that.
— NRC Handelsblad

Live Acrion Role Play (LARP)

Live Acrion Role Play (LARP)


Go Short Audience Award 2018 - Go Short International Short Film Festival Nijmegen

Homo Ludens won the  Go Short Audience Award 2018 .

Homo Ludens won the Go Short Audience Award 2018.


Director: Sanne Rovers
Research & scenario: Lara Aerts, Sanne Rovers
Producer: Eefje Blankevoort
Line producer: Lara Aerts
Director of photography: Diderik Evers
Photography wingsuit shots: JP de Kam
Editor: Albert Markus
Sound: Hein Verhoeven, Gerben Kokmeijer, Carla van der Meijs, Sanne Rovers
Handling: Erik Vermunt
Music & sound design: Jesse Koolhaas
Colour grading: Barend Onneweer
Postproduction coordinator: Eva Haak Wegmann
Design: Remco Oude Alink, Nine Fluitsma
Translation: D.F. Frank
Producer: Prospektor
Broadcaster: NTR
Length: 26 minutes
Status: broadcasted

Homo Ludens is a Prospektor production and was supported by the NPO Fonds, CoBO Fonds and FilmFonds in the framework of Teledoc Campus.


More play in film:

Play For Keeps

Another Prospektor production:

The Migrant